Troy Turner got his taste of the blues first-hand. The anguish you hear in every note he plays is not something he copped from somebody else’s style. It comes from the pain of growing up next to poverty and abuse, being weaned on the gospel music of your parents and knowing your only hope for redemption is your music.
Getting out of Baton Rouge was only the first step in Troy’s road to redemption; he had major demons to subdue along every leg of his journey and he wasn’t going to allow them to get in his way.
Let’s back up a bit. Troy and I first got together in New York City in the mid-90s with the idea of writing songs and making a record, and although our intentions were good, the record label that signed Troy wanted their own producer to helm the record. Fair enough, it was their money, and Troy ended up recording several of the songs we wrote for the record. The two of us stayed in touch and when the opportunity came for us to work together again, both of us decided we would make the most of it.
The recording sessions for Whole Lotta Blues took place in Nashville, Tennessee, home to Country Music and Americana. When it comes to this kind of music, you have to bring your own Blues so we did. Performances and songs from friends like Steve Cropper (who does live here in town), Leslie West (who doesn’t), and Brian May (who’s over across the pond, so to speak) spiced up our brew. Troy cooked up some bayou barbeque in my backyard to make sure the album was infused with some Louisiana flavor, and although I cannot claim to have learned all his cooking secrets I now at least have a clue.
The meals we have presented here is a treat on several levels — it shows the blossoming of a great blues talent, unveils some previously unheard compositions co-written by the legendary Hubert Sumlin (and myself), and it gives a taste of how one can be both the future of the blues and still retain the traditional spirit. When I hear Troy sing and play, I hear the tradition best associated with greats like B.B. King and Buddy Guy (both of whom I’ve worked with), but I still hear Troy’s singular and identifiable style..
That’s no mean feat – that’s a whole lotta blues!
Troy’s first three solo albums, Teenage Blues in Baton Rouge (Kingsnake, 1990) and Handful of Aces (Kingsnake, 1992), Blues On My Back (Telarc, 1999), all have been widely acclaimed by industry publications.
- By the age of 23, he had already been touted as a major blues force to watch by Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Living Blues and Guitar World.
- Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth told Guitar World that Troy’s first two records were two of his all-time favorites!
- Received the coveted J.D. Miller Award from the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to the genre.
- AllMusic Guide’s Ron Wynn wrote,” Troy Turner’s sound symbolizes the ‘contemporary’ 90s artist. He includes soul, funk and rock elements in his playing, but also sings powerhouse straight blues tunes.”